That’s Irishman Brian Keogh advising the readers of his brilliant blog, “The death at 91 of Christy O’Connor Snr in the small hours of Saturday morning marks the end of an era in world golf and the loss to Ireland of one of its greatest ever sportsmen.”
For those of us who’ve been around for a long time and very well aware of the fact there was Christy O’Connor Snr when only the newcomers to the game are aware of Christy O’Connor Jnr, we knew than when knowledgeable golfers heard in conversation the mention of “Himself” it could only refer to Christy senior.
For the record, “In between he (Christy O’Connor Snr) won the Canada Cup (World Cup) with Harry Bradshaw, was a regular high finisher in the British Open and played on the Ryder Cup team ten times between 1955 and 1973.O'Connor clocked up 25 European P.G.A. tournament wins and ten Irish Championships, producing a host of "miracle" shots in the process.”
How good was “Himself”?
Tom Keogh writes, “No wonder the great Lee Trevino said of him :" to me only three players have looked entirely natural swinging a golf club - Christy, Roberto de Vicenzo and Neil Coles. Christy flows through the ball like fine wine,” which is nice to since I’ve always wondered why he rarely received the recognition that the swings of Sam Snead and Freddie Couples received from admirers of their poetry in motion.
Gary Player is quoted as saying, “He and Sam Snead were the two greatest natural players the world has ever seen. Christy O’Connor and Sam Snead.”
What no hangover?
Gary also said, “Christy Senior? What a man. He was bionic. I remember he was a man who would finish half a bottle of whiskey and go out and still beat you.
“It used to frustrate the c**p out of me that he could be that good.”
How good was he?
It was a dreary and ground soaked late Autumn Sunday morning at Dalmahoy near Edinburgh in the mid 1960s and the stars had come out for a one-day invitational, Bernard Hunt, Harry Weetman and the likes and my local pro John Panton who just happened to be talking to Christy who looked like he had something of a hangover.
In these the days the first hole was a lengthy par-5 with an incline and sloping fairway and Christy hit a good tee shot which resulted in finding his ball in a claggy lie and side hill situation. Without a moment’s hesitation Christy decided to take a driver off the deck and damn near caught the green. The greatest shot I’ve ever been present to observe. Could be it was simply the result of his famous relaxed swing? However I’m inclined to think there was a wee hint of Irish whiskey in the air.
Link to Brian Keogh
Quote of the Day
“Well, now, don't hold this against me, you asked this question; I'd hate to be playing now, today, because I was always a fast player. I think that I would get lost. I think I probably would be looking for the bar. That's a joke, of course.” – Christy O’Connor Snr